Ter Beke, the Belgium-based pâte and ready-meals supplier, has hired Puratos director Piet Sanders as its new chief executive.

Sanders, who will take the helm on 1 October, follows on from Francis Kint, whose departure in June was announced by Ter Beke at the start of the year.

Dirk Goeminne, Ter Beke’s executive chairman Ter Beke, said: “After the announcement of Francis Kint’s departure in early 2021, the board of directors started looking for a new CEO for the group. The board took the necessary time to set up a thorough selection procedure lead by its remuneration and nomination committee. The board is therefore convinced that in Piet Sanders it has found the suitable candidate to help shape and further implement Ter Beke’s growth strategy.”

Goeminne added: “His many years of experience in the food sector at the highest level, his international knowledge of the markets in which Ter Beke is active and his strategy and vision-driven approach ensure a perfect match.”

In 2020, Ter Beke’s turnover fell 1.5% to EUR717.4m (US$845m), with the company pointing to the pressure Covid-19 had put on sales of its ready meals.

The lower turnover, combined with raw-material prices and restructuring costs, saw Ter Beke’s EBIT fall 22% to EUR4.8m. After tax, the company’s earnings moved into the red, with the business posting a loss against that metric of EUR2.5m.

Sanders said: “It is an honour for me to become CEO of Ter Beke, one of the better Belgian food companies, after 17 exciting years at Puratos. The growth opportunities and also the challenges of the company appeal to me enormously and I look forward to getting to know the entire Ter Beke team quickly and going for it together.”